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What Happened to Peak Oil?

March 7th, 2016 · No Comments · Trends

When oil was above $100 a barrel, it wasn’t so hard to disagree with the “Abundance” proponents when clearly their was a shortage of oil. How times have changed.

Conventional Oil Has Peaked

M. King Hubbart predictions that US oil production would peak in about the year 1970 was right… for short time. Then technology happened.

With oil prices under $40 a barrel again, there are not many talking about peak oil, but there were plenty a couple short years ago when oil was above $100 a barrel. (Oildecline.com, PeakOil.com, Peak Oil and the Second Great Depression)

A common phrase that is used is “conventional oil.” Basically, conventional oil refers to getting the easy oil out of the ground. There are massive amounts of oil that is stuck in hard to get areas that are not really economically viable.

That is until fracking came along. Then that hard to reach oil became economically profitable and the US had a major oil boom, becoming self-sufficient in oil production once again.

That is a key point. Technology removes barriers of scarcity. Fracking made oil production in the US economic again, so we had a major boom in production.

Saying that “convention oil” has peaked is a lot like saying that “conventional horse power” peaked in the 1800s. It was impossible to get horse drawn carriages to go any faster, so we reached the limit of horse power. “Conventional” limits are meaningless when a new technology changes everything.

Peak Oil, I Wish

If only the world had peak oil. Then there would be serious investment in alternative energy sources and we might have a way out of this looming environmental disaster. But alas, we are awash in oil and it doesn’t look like that is going to change anytime soon.

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